He didn’t tell me, and I shouldn’t have been snooping—
but—how much privacy should a five year-old have?
Finding his post-it diary was adorable until I noticed
the wavy pages about ten-in. Teddy read about tadpoles
becoming frogs in the picture book he kept checking out
of the library with the swampy pond out back.
He’d snuck out during one daycamp naptime and caught
a few with his thermos—which explained the mud
I had to mysteriously wash away on an otherwise sunny day.
He dug a hole with his sandcastle shovel, filled it
with hose water and then the tadpoles. He was growing
his own frogs and couldn’t wait. He dropped in bits of toast
because the book didn’t say what tadpoles ate.
He had soccer practice and homework.
The shallow puddle dried up after only two unattended days
and he covered them up with dirt. He wanted to know
what to say over their graves but was afraid to ask.
He wasn’t supposed to kill things.
He’d stolen the tadpoles and killed them.
He was sorry. He was so sorry to the babies.
is a teacher, writer and photographer. He won the Gulf Stream 2020 Summer Poetry Contest and his writing has appeared in Best New Poets, Maine Review, North American Review, Meridian, The Southern Review, Fence, Texas Review and many others. He publishes the prompt blog Notebooking Daily, and edits the journals Coastal Shelf and Sparked.